Google Glass returns as aid to autistic kids

It teaches users to identify emotions

November 18, 2017 07:52 pm | Updated 07:54 pm IST - New York

Thomas Sanchez, founder of digital innovation agency Social Driver, demonstrates Google Glass as the device’s menu is mirrored on a screen at the National Press Club in Washington on April 4, 2014.

Thomas Sanchez, founder of digital innovation agency Social Driver, demonstrates Google Glass as the device’s menu is mirrored on a screen at the National Press Club in Washington on April 4, 2014.

Those who declared Google Glass a failure perhaps spoke too soon as it is now resurfacing as a tool to help children with autism improve their social skills.

A Massachusetts-based company has developed a system for autism that runs on Google Glass, including the newly released Glass Enterprise Edition. Brain Power, the developer, launched the “Empower Me” system earlier this month. It is a digital coach that runs on smartglasses, to empower children and adults with autism to teach themselves social and cognitive skills.

The company said it is using the Google Glass platform because tablets or phones require looking down. But the wearable platforms help people keep heads-up and hands-free during social interactions.

“Empowering people is my passion,” Brain Power CEO, Ned Sahin, said in a statement. “My goal was to use technology and science to bring people even closer than they ever might have been,” Mr. Sahin added.

Autism spectrum disorder is characterised by impaired social interaction, communication and sensory sensitivities.

The system features a suite of apps. One such app, Emotion Charades, teaches the user to identify and understand emotions, which are common challenges for people with autism. Users look through the private screen on their smartglasses and see emojis on either side of their partner’s face. They select which one they think matches the facial expression with a spoken command or a subtle head tilt. A software detects emotions and voice commands.

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